Longtime NR Friends John Bolton and Larry Kudlow Head to the White House

Correct. Trump is really good at “driving a media agenda.” He takes bold, beyond-the-Overton-window positions; he gets combative in interviews, he insults critics, he insists solutions are simple and that only a conspiracy of the malevolent and foolish stands in the way of enacting them.

.. I used to joke that Bill Clinton was the only guy who could distract attention from a fundraising scandal by getting into a sex scandal. 

.. Trump figured out how to overload the system, generating so many headline-grabbing surprises, controversies and personnel changes that few if any really had the time to leave a lasting impression.

.. just during a couple months in the campaign, we saw Trump contending that a federal judge couldn’t rule fairly because “he’s a Mexican;” mock Carly Fiorina’s face; get into a war of words with a slain soldier’s father. Any one of those would have defined and politically destroyed a lesser-known figure.

.. Think about how Obama and the Democrats spent almost all of 2009 and a chunk of 2010 focused on what became Obamacare. But the amount of consistent focus — and presidential persuasion — needed to pass a legislative agenda is completely different from the amount needed to dominate a news cycle.

Every time it seems the president has zeroed in on an issue, and appears determined to see it through — guns and immigration are just the two latest examples — he moves on to something else. And Congress, which isn’t designed to respond swiftly to national events and the wishes of the White House even in the least distracted of circumstances, simply can’t keep up.

The constant whiplash of priorities is getting on lawmakers’ nerves.

“It’s unbelievable to me,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). “The attention span just seems to be. . . it’s a real problem.”

Jamie Horowitz fired as head of Fox Sports amid reports of sexual harassment

21st Century Fox launched an investigation last week into allegations of sexual harassment, and that several women at Fox Sports have been interviewed.

.. Jamie was hired by Fox to do a job, a job that until today he has performed in an exemplary fashion. Any slanderous accusations to the contrary will be vigorously defended.”

.. “We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve,” Fox said in a statement at the time.

.. Since arriving at Fox Sports in 2015, he lured controversial commentators such as

heavily promoting them across all platforms.

.. Horowitz had been a rising star at ESPN, steering programming away from news and highlights and focusing more on debate and personalities.

.. Shortly after taking the FS1 reins, he told The Washington Post he wanted programming that was “

  • provocative,
  • independent,
  • original,
  • fearless,
  • blunt.”

About Roger Stone: (his own site)

In 1978, Stone co-founded the National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC) where he is credited with developing the negative campaign into an art form and pioneering the modern use of negative campaign advertising which Mr. Stone calls “comparative, educational, not negative.”

.. Stone became known for his expertise and strategies for motivating and winning ethnic and Catholic voters.

.. In 2000 Stone is credited with the hard-ball tactics which resulted in closing down the Miami-Dade Presidential recount.

.. The New York Times and Miami Herald reported it was Mr. Stone who first tipped of the FBI to Governor Eliot Spitzer’s use of prostitutes.

.. Stone has worked for pro-American political parties in Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. He is consulted regularly on communications and corporate and public relations strategy by fortune 500 ECO’s and pro-democracy foreign leaders.

.. “Professional lord of mischief” – Weekly Standard

“Legendary conservative political hit man” – TheHill.com


“He [Roger] is one of its fiercest warriors, with the battle scars to prove it.” – The Weekly Standard

“A dragon slayer who helped bring down New York State’s most powerful man” – NY Daily News

“A long history of bare-knuckle politics” – The New York Times

“The GOP’s dapper Pugilist” – The Washington Post

“Seasoned practitioner of hard-edged politics” – The New York Times

“Master Political Strategist and Street fighter” – LeftVoice.com

“The most dangerous person in America today…” – The Village Voice

“Still, Stone gets results” – FirstPost.com, UK

“Skilled in the dark arts of politics” – The Atlantic

.. “Notorious” – Vanity Fair

.. “Master of right-wing political hit jobs… – Politico.com

“Controversial” – The Washington Post

“Infamous” – Gothamist.com

“The dapper don of dirty deeds” – DullardMush.com

“Directly involved in the downfall of Clinton campaign chief strategist Mark Penn” – RADAR

.. “Known for hard-ball politics and a cloak and dagger sensibility” – The New York Times

“At times, Stone’s real party seems to be the vaudevillian rather than the GOP” – New Yorker Magazine

.. “Respected, hated, and always controversial Republican political knife fighter…” – NoQuarterUSA.net

.. “An equal-opportunity trickster” – NY Daily News

“The undisputed master of the black arts of electioneering” – Scotsman.com

A 140-Character Flaw

It’s hard for a new administration to avoid controversy, but must Trump create it out of thin air?

.. What makes the furor over President Trump’s wiretapping claims so remarkable is how unnecessary it is. The flap didn’t arise from events outside of the administration’s control, nor was it a clever trap sprung by its adversaries. The president went out of his way to initiate it. He picked up his phone and tweeted allegations that he had no idea were true or not, either to distract from what he thought was a bad news cycle, or to vent, or both.

.. at the very least has diverted him and his team from much more important work on Capitol Hill, where his agenda will rise or fall. In an alternative and more conventional universe, the White House would be crowing over Judge Gorsuch’s testimony before Congress.

.. Since the wiretapping allegations, Spicer’s days  have been spent in the semantics, air quotes, and epistemological gymnastics necessary to support Trump’s claims.

.. All he has to say is that he accepts his FBI director’s statement and that he doesn’t want to talk about it any more.

.. It’s hard to see why the Russians would have had to involve Trump associates in what should have been a simple two-step process: 1) hack Democratic accounts; 2) give the resulting information to WikiLeaks. But Comey’s acknowledgement of the investigation will stoke the darkest suspicions of the Left.

Trump’s political godfather

Joe Arpaio, America’s most controversial sheriff, talks to ‘Off Message’ about what he taught Donald Trump about politics.

.. They share a boot-on-throat rhetorical style, a focus on kicking out illegal immigrants and kicking the ass of America’s enemies, and both love bashing the whiny “political correctness” of minority groups. Arpaio hit on the formula first — adding a Korean War veteran’s fondness for accumulating .50-caliber machine guns and other military ordnance — but he is too media-smart to walk into the trap I set by suggesting Trump is stealing his shtick.

.. In Arpaio’s view, controversy is a useful tool, a way of elevating the causes he cares about (guns, law and order, immigration, the epidemic of wimp-ism), but it’s also not just a means but an end, the only way to grab the attention of a national media and political establishment that would otherwise ignore him. “I’m controversial,” he added with a shrug. “You wouldn’t be here talking to me if I was a nothing, I don’t think.”

.. In 2013, the county board of supervisors paid $3.75 million to a pair of New Times editors who said they were falsely imprisoned after writing about the sheriff’s real estate transactions.

.. the mob had its own ethics too. … They will never kill a child or a cop, OK?

.. Arpaio pushed the idea — thus far alien to law enforcement officials probing the muddled motives of the shooter — that Omar Mateen may have gunned down 49 people in an anti-Latino frenzy.

..Joe Arpaio is literally a poor man’s Donald Trump — same approach, different bank account

.. Arpaio, even his enemies concede, is an engaging guy with an intuitive sense of seizing the moment — and he thinks Trump, responding to a stagnant economy and a widespread sense that the immigration problem is out of control — has the same knack. “Timing is perfect right now for a guy like him,” he told me. “Timing is everything, and he hit on the right timing.”

.. But local analysts noted a telling shift — support had slipped among educated whites who had previously backed him but were now turned off by his stridency and age.

.. “When they can’t get you for anything else, it’s a famous word, ‘racist,’” he said. “Do you think it bothers me? It doesn’t really bother me. I know in my heart what I am, so they can call me anything they want. … [I’m] probably one guy that really doesn’t [discriminate], you know, and I’m not going to say my best friend is black. … No, no, no. And even in my family, I have a black and I have Mexican. I got all these family — but I’m not going to say that. I guess you could still have that and say you’re a racist, you know, but no. I know what I am. Come on.”

Against Interminable Arguments

A while back I wrote about memetic evolution for controversy. If an idea is outrageous, it’s likely to spread as people condemn it. if something iscontroversially outrageous, it’s likely to spread even further, as people argue against it and then other people counterargue against the arguments ad infinitum. This gives it visibility far beyond things that are objectively more important. The entire news media freaks out over BernieBros for weeks, and nobody ever hears about desalinization policy in drought-stricken nations.

Interminable arguments are the local version of the same process. For me, the biggest difference between a productive discussion and an interminable argument is simple. I’m participating in the productive discussion because I want to. I’m participating in the interminable argument because I have to.

.. Letting jerks have the last word is really hard.

.. So how does a community prevent this? Blocking jerks – the people who start the whole cycle by deliberately trolling others – is an obvious good start. But some people on the Tumblr discussion have mentioned some more subtle points worth thinking about.

.. Email is private and removes the performative factor; I can’t say how many times a previously terrible discussion has become manageable and productive as soon as it gets outside the public eye. And by longer forms, I mean things like books and (really good long form) blog posts. I would much rather read the best book by someone I disagree with, and hear all their best arguments laid out by a leading intellectual with a good editor, rather than have to listen to somebody taunt me on Tumblr. And if I don’t understand something about the book, or I still have questions, then I can pickone or two people I know and debate it with them privately.